Chicago Marijuana Vote Pleases Legalization Advocates

The measure was aimed at deciding how hypothetical tax revenues would be spent

What to Know

  • The measure was only on the ballot in certain areas, and would steer marijuana tax revenues to neighborhoods hurt by the war on drugs.

Voters in numerous Chicago city wards supported a ballot measure designed to spend future marijuana tax revenue in certain city neighborhoods, and now politicians are left to evaluate what it all means as the city moves forward.

The measure stipulated that tax revenues from the sale of legal marijuana would be used to fund neighborhood reinvestment in low-income communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.

The measure ended up being approved by voters, and supporters of legalization were pleased with the results, citing it as one more example of the momentum being gained by the movement to legalize the drug in the city and the state.

“The industry certainly supports opening up access to cannabis,” CRESCO Labs spokesman Jason Erkes said. “We have a governor that supports it and has promised legislation, and now we have two mayoral candidates who support it.”

Both Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and former prosecutor Lori Lightfoot support legalizing marijuana, and advocates hope that their support helps to lead to decriminalization efforts to help free those in prison due to the drug.

“Mass incarceration is an issue, as these minor pot crimes disproportionately impact people of color,” legalization supporter Nicole Schonitzer said.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker called for legalization of marijuana in his budget address, and both Lightfoot and Preckwinkle are on record as supporting that measure. Preckwinkle spoke out in favor of the city’s decision to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis during the summer of 2012.

Contact Us